Embraer has launched a programme to modernise 14 EMB-312 Tucanos for the Colombian air force, but most of the production work will be moved outside of Brazil.

The three-year contract will modify the primary trainer with new wings, landing gear and avionics, allowing their service life to be extended by 15 years, said Orlando Neto, vice president of sales for Embraer Defense and Security.

The first prototype will be designed and produced by Embraer in Brazil, Neto said.

The upgrades include a Cobham avionics system and a Rockwell Collins navigation/communications system.

But the Colombian air force required Embraer to transfer most of the work to a state-owned company - Corporation de la Industria Aeronautica Colombiana (CIAC).

Eight engineers from CIAC arrived at Embraer in late July, to be trained by the Brazilian manufacturer's design specialists.

After Embraer completes the prototype, the Embraer-trained CIAC engineers will take over the work in Colombia.

The Colombian air force took delivery of its EMB-312s in 1992, as listed in Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

The service also operates 25 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, introduced between 2006 and 2008.

Colombia has been investing to improve the skills of its state-owned aerospace company. Last year, CIAC partnered with US-based Lancair to produce the kit-built T-90 Calima light-single as a basic trainer.

Since 2008, CIAC has been partnered with Colombian armaments supplier Indumil, to design and build unmanned aerial vehicles using composite materials.

Source: Flight International